Addressing the needs of vulnerable children in the Northern Cape
18 August 2010 - The Northern Cape has a relatively small population, but it is the largest geographically, so the people are found in small pockets far away from each other and isolated from essential social services. This factor, combined with a history of migrancy associated with seasonal and mining labour, substance abuse and concentrated HIV incidence in urban settlements exacerbate children’s vulnerabilities in the Northern Cape. There are approximately 28,000 maternal orphans in the Northern Cape that have been identified through the national maternal orphan count, conducted by the National Department of Social Development and the Department of Home Affairs.
UNICEF, through its partnership with the National Association of Child and Youth Care Workers (NACCW) and the Department of Social Development, will support the establishment of three new Isibindi sites in Port Nolloth, Upington and Colesburg, train and deploy 48 Child and Youth Care Workers who will thereby help meet the protection needs of at least 1,800 vulnerable children in the province.
The Isibindi model of care is a community-based programme that trains unemployed community members in accredited, integrated child and youth care services for child-headed households and vulnerable families. Child and Youth Care workers, based in the community, ensure that vulnerable and at-risk children, have the opportunity for optimal development. Their interventions ensure that children are safe and cared for in their homes, that they attend school regularly and also enable children and youth to acquire skills that will increase their competency in their own living environment and they provide emotional support to children and youth as they adjust to the absence of one or both parents.
UNICEF has assisted NACCW in developing its training programme for child and youth care workers and in costing the Isibindi model for scaling up nationwide. Over the past 5 years, the Isibindi model has been successfully replicated in over 69 sites across all provinces, reaching 33,000 orphans and vulnerable children, and training to 575 child and youth care workers.